Contributed by: Malahki Thorn
[Grundik & Slava Interview; Rain Music]
Heathen Harvest: Can you begin by discussing who the members of Grundik & Slava are?
Grundik Kasyansky: Grundik Igor Kasyansky and Slava Smelovsky.
HH: What musical experience did the members of Grundik and Slava have before beginning the band?
GK: A very little experience. Some time before we joined forces with Slava a couple of friends and me formed collective and named it Blackness. One of my friends: a professional musician played cello. Another played “drums”, mostly from household origin (he is one of the best VJs in Israel now). I wasn't musician at all, but a poet and played on everything from overdrived acoustic guitar (I couldn't play guitar) to radio (exactly what I started to play now after 12 years J ) It was all improvised and all noise. We never performed in public.
HH: When did you begin working together and what inspired you to come together around music?
GK: A chance. It just happened as everything else in my life. I think it was 1993-94. But we met each other a little bit before – we were studying at the same university.
HH: What other occupations do the band members pursue beyond their role as musicians?
GK: A sound design and sound recording for film, video, theatre, dance etc. And I am still working as journalist (although I am kind of tired from this “dirty business”). Oh… and I have a BA in archeology J
HH: What other artistic pursuits are the members involved in beyond Grundik and Slava?
GK: Actually I think Grundik+Slava is not a band, but just Grundik and Slava – a duo. But we love to collaborate with other people. We worked with musicians Vadim Gusis , Victoria Hanna, Ambidextrous, Petroivich to name a few. But also with video artists: Kolika Max Tigay, Shige Moria, dancer Ximena Garnica, clown Feodor Makarov etc etc etc
HH: The music of Grundik and Slava is often defined as eclectic and experimental. What was the bands inspiration to work within experimental music as opposed to more mainstream branches of musical expression?
GK: I don't think experimental is an appropriate word. Experiment is only the part of the art process. We just do what we want to do, it is just that simple.
HH: What inspired the band members to explore electronic as opposed to traditional analogue music?
GK: A chance. And actually it is not 100% correct for the current situation. We work a lot with “traditional” instruments – from guitar to ocarina and mbira and with sound objects (toys, music boxes, fens, etc)
HH: Who were some musicians or artist who helped inspire Grundik & Slava originally and currently?
GK: It is very easy to inspire me. At some point I like something and really want to imitate it. I start to compose music trying to imitate it, but this music would remind everything else but not the original source of imitation. Here are some people I really and deeply admire:
* Composers and Musicians: John Cage, Morton Feldman, Keith Rowe, Taku Sugimoto. Slava Smelovsky
* Artists: Rothko and Klee
* Dancer: Cunningham
* Film Director: Tarkovsky
* My wife Alona and Liza my newborn daughter
HH: “For Birds and Electronics” was Grundik & Slava's first widely available commercial release. What influenced your decision to make the “For Birds and Electronics” release more widely available?
GK: There was no decision, just a chance.
HH: How did your professional relationship come about with Stateart?
GK: Special thanks goes to Vadim Gusis who introduced us to Marco from Stateart
HH: Being musicians who explore experimental domains of music, what audience do you see yourselves appealing to?
GK: Small children and older people J No, really we just doing our thing and if someone else find it useful for their needs, it is magnificent.
HH: Can you explain the conceptual basis for the music on “For Birds and Electronics”?
GK: no conceptual basis, just sounds
HH: The music on “For Birds and Electronics” is a mixture of electronic sounds and what appear to be field recordings of bird songs. Can you explain your use and interest in field recordings and how they relate to the music?
GK: I confess it was my (spontaneous) idea – and actually I don't like how I worked it out. I find it a bit pretentious now. But still I heard people like it very much and actually think it is very important part of this album. They also explained me what did we mean when we used the birdcalls. (Everyone have its own version of course J ).
HH: Can you discuss how you go about composing songs and conceiving of an album?
GK: truly it so different from song to song, from album to album that it is very hard for me to tell you something about it. Sometimes we work apart, sometimes all together. But we definitely chose to publish only pieces we both like.
HH: How do the two of you collaborate within the recording and editing processes?
GK: We both can handle the sound engineering work. Actually see the answer to previous question.
HH: The music on “For Birds and Electronics” was a combination of natural sounds and electronic sounds. Was this an intentional statement concerning technology and nature?
GK: No statements, just sounds
HH: The music on “For Birds and Electronics” is particularly free of any agenda or clear message. Rather the music inspires the individuals own imagination. Has the band always approached music with such a non narrative approach?
GK: This approach is not non narrative. Sound can turn to any message you want or any symbol you chose. It is just doesn't know it.
HH: Does the band have intentions concerning the conveyance of an emotional message within the music?
GK: I am just trying to be honest with myself.
HH: Being that “For Birds and Electronics” is the first widely available release by Grundik & Slava many of us are not familiar with the bands previous musical history. What has the musical evolution of the band been like?
GK: From whatever you name it to techno to IDM to “experimental” to whatever you name it.
HH: Is “For Birds and Electronics” indicative of past releases? And if not how has the music evolved or changed?
GK: I feel it changed a lot. Actually I have similar feelings after every new release. It takes from year to three-five years to realize our music is not really changing. 🙂 Especially if you don't care about “styles of music”.
HH: Do you ever see the band expanding beyond Grundik and Slava as fixed members?
GK: As I wrote you Grundik+Slava is not really a band, it just a duo. But our last works were made with huge help of Victoria Hanna, Chaos As Shelter and other good people. In our latest Israeli concert at April we were 6 people on stage. (including singer and violinist).
HH: Is there any news of future projects or upcoming releases that you can share with us?
GK: New album Frogs with special guest Victoria Hanna (singing on about a half of tracks) is going to be released at the end of December at Israeli label Topheth Prophet. Another album Kunstkamera will be released by Stateart sometime at 2005. I am playing now improvised electro-acoustic music with tubist Petrovich, Slava working with Crossfishes (Israeli underground all-star supergroup). We (as Grundik+Slava) have some commissions from dance companies and galleries. And start to think about new album. There are lots of things to do and it is good.
HH: And lastly is there anything you would like to say in parting?
GK: have a beautiful day J
HH: Heathen Harvest would like to congradulate Grundik and his wife Alona on the birth of their new born daughter Liza. May your family grow in love and prosperity.kunstkamera: reviews and interviews